World Mental Health Day 2017

Now I know today’s post was supposed to be a little chit chat about my recent trip to Disneyland Paris, and that will be coming later this week! However, I woke up today and realized it was World Mental Health Day and I thought I’d write about something a little more important. Mental health is something that affects us all at some point in our lives, whether that be a personal battle with anxiety and/ or depression or us witnessing someone we love battling these illnesses. No one is exempt from mental health issues and it’s often hard to spot who may be suffering; often the loudest person in the room is fighting the hardest battle.

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Today’s society is so detrimental to our mental health for example, the images and ‘perfect’ lifestyles we see on social media can make us feel anxious, worthless and sometimes even lead to eating disorders (a UK snapshot survey recently revealed that Instagram was voted the worst social media app for leading to issues such as anxiety, loneliness, depression, bullying and body image). As a young adult, there is often so much pressure on us to achieve what can feel like the impossible; to fall into a successful career, be independent, have a nice car, travel, find a partner, be wealthy, think about savings… All the while, our economy is struggling, a third of graduates are working in non-professional jobs and you feel like it was only five minutes ago that you were still in high school. All of these societal expectations alongside the social media pressure to portray an idealistic lifestyle can put pressure on young people which can lead to feelings of worthlessness and ‘not being good enough’.

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In addition to this, there is still a stigma attached to young men talking about their feelings. People seem to be less aware of how patriarchal expectations can have such a heavily detrimental impact on young men who can feel like the expectations of them to ‘man-up’ leave them without an avenue through which they can talk about their feelings. There is currently a male suicide crisis in the UK; men aged 20-49 are three times more likely than women to commit suicide and more likely to die from suicide than any other cause of death. Now, that’s shocking and extremely sad. Whilst media campaigns have shed some light on the issue and tried to disassociate ideas surrounding talking about how you feel and masculinity, again, there is more that can be done.

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There is no easy solution to helping those who suffer from mental health issues however, one way everyone can help those who suffer is to stop stigmatizing mental health. The comparison of ‘a broken bone’ and depression is often used to show there is no difference in how the two issues should be handled; both need time, care and consideration from outsiders. I believe, if everyone was a little more understanding and a little more aware that not everybody’s scars are visible, people who suffer from mental health issues would find it more comfortable to talk about how they’re feeling – a key step to helping someone deal with their mental health. So many people have publicly shared their personal experiences with mental health issues which is commendable and extremely brave; by reflecting on your own battles with mental health, you’re showing a sufferer of the same illness they’re not alone – an often crippling side effect of depression and anxiety, so go you. 

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Now, I love a slogan t-shirt (especially one with a good cause), and River Island have teamed up with The Mix UK to create five unisex t-shirt designs that not only look fab but also do fab – 30% of the proceeds go directly to the charity!

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If you’re feeling like your depression and/or anxiety is becoming too difficult to manage there are a wide host of organisations you can contact, including:

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an excellent resource for young men who are feeling unhappy. As well as their website, CALM also has a helpline (0800 58 58 58).
  • Also, if you’re feeling like you don’t want to verbally communicate with anyone, but you really need help you can text ‘741741’ and speak to a crisis worker over text.

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